Stephen Cramer




I’ll never be the seedling
on the telephone

wire that draws sustenance
from nowhere, though daily
I’m shimmied

by the murmur of voices.
I’ll never be the sky insinuating

itself between
each wing in the murder
of crows, though I can let it

choreograph my mood.
I’ll never be the housefly

buzzing in the key
of F, but I can hum
in harmony. I’ll never be

the low-hanging
cloud above the lake,

but I know
that it’s really just the way
that something as heavy

as the lake
is learning how to fly.



How delicious
to be path averse,
to accept the undergrowth’s

thorned invitation.
You are both thunder
& molasses,

so when you’re gone,
the day is a bee
with a single wing

trying to find the air
in endless figure-eights.
Keep the map

in your pocket,
because what good luck
to have your route be

permanently unscripted.
Your voice smells like
almonds, a bowl of bruised

cherries, & even before
we touch I know
you’ll taste nocturnal.


Let us paint murals across
the buildings—brick, window,

door, & all—murals
of the fields & sky

they obstruct, so that you look
at an edifice but see

everything but edifice.
Let’s let asters & cosmos,

bergamot & columbine
reclaim the bricks’ space

so that even the bricks
wondered what they

themselves were. How about
murals of high, helixing

grasses on fences so it looks
like you could wade

from a field into yet more 
field. Let’s make it so

you have to know just
which knot of wood

to stick your key into
in order to open the door

to your house.
Would it not just feel right

to paint SUVs & trucks
with the trunks of trees

so that a highway looks
like a forest in motion?

& if we could paint
over car exhaust & contrails

all the better to turn
those toxic shreds

back into blue.
Let us not hesitate

before V616 Monoerotis,
the closest black hole

to earth, which has no chance
of destroying us before we

get down to that business
ourselves. Let us practice

disappearing our bricks,
our signs, our wheels,

our smoking barrels,
so that we may feel

what it’s like just before
our turn has come,

so we may feel our murals
crumble, & imagine

the painted sky
turning back into sky.